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Philip Evans


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SEATON: One million cigarettes washed up

Thursday, 27 February 2014

A shipping container lost at sea caused frantic activity when it washed up on the Axmouth end of Seaton beach last Sunday (February 23rd).
In a scene reminiscent of the MSC Napoli incident at Branscombe in January 2007, police officers were deployed to guard a container with £3 million worth of cigarettes, some of which had broken free of the container. The shipment of one million cigarettes weighed 14 tonnes.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the haul had been recovered on Monday morning and taken to a secure location.
The MCA spokesperson explained: “A number of containers were lost from a Maersk cargo ship as it crossed the northern stretches of the Bay of Biscay in stormy conditions on Friday, February 14th.
“Most of the containers were empty and are believed to have sunk approximately 75 nautical miles south west of Lands End in French waters.”
Speaking shortly after the container washed up, MCA officer, Simon Porter, said: “We have been carrying out extensive searches and spotted three containers, one of which has since come ashore and the other two are mid-Channel.
“The Beer Coastguard Rescue Team, police and council officials are currently on scene at Axmouth beach and the container has been cordoned off.”
It was confirmed on Monday morning that the haul had been recovered.
Speaking on Monday morning, an East Devon District Council (EDDC) spokesperson said: “A team of 11 operational staff and two technical officers went to the beach to assist with the incident.
“They later arranged for a contractor with a JCB to drag the container up the beach and away from the shoreline.Early on Monday morning EDDC officers began working with the loss adjuster
“The incident brought back memories of an incident in January 2007, when the MSC Napoli was grounded off Sidmouth and containers from the ship were washed ashore at Branscombe.
All wreck material found in the UK has to be reported to the MCA’s Receiver of Wreck, which can be done using the form available online at https://afrmm
The MCA spokesperson added: “Those who don’t declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing hefty fines and paying the owner twice the value of the item recovered.”


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